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Concert Photography, Music

Concert Review + Photos: July Talk @ The Dakota Tavern

By: Patrick Topping (@ptopp_ing) –

July Talk. (Photo: Stephen McGill/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

July Talk. (Photo: Stephen McGill/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Universal Music Canada and Sleepless Records hosted the hometown return of July Talk at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto last night, the very room where the band’s leading duo Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay initiated their mercurial music pairing.

The private show at the warmly-lit frontiers-themed venue carried the autumnal tinge of a high school reunion, the chance to commemorate milestones, confront former bullies, re-unite with old friends and re-ignite lost flames. For the media, label, and supporters in attendance, it was a cozy opportunity to celebrate the band’s recent accomplishments, including the re-release of their self-titled album on Sleepless Records and two successful CMJ showcases in New York City. The room was abuzz with anticipation for the “I was there” moments, the electrifying sense that this show may be one of the last times to see such compelling performers in the uniquely intimate setting.

Way down in the subterranean venue, July Talk took the stage and started the set with Dreimanis’s strident guitar-plucking of “The Garden” and snarly guttural growl, setting a heaving groove which the band hotly pursued. Vocal counterpart Leah Fay appeared side-stage with two fistfuls of black & white balloons, a Mouseketeer hat, and a toothsome grin, sparking a wide-eyed excitement in the audience. The bombastic “Guns & Ammunition” followed in militaristic, percussive rhythm and Dreimanis’s precision-scowled vocals and serrated guitar licks. The band interlaced three songs from the expanded version of the album, notably the rhythmically chugging, lyrically-caustic “Summer Dress”and the surging, arena-rock song “Headsick”.

Unfortunately, the crowd of “professionals” was slow to give more than obligatory head nods, the early timing of the show and makeup of the audience proving to be obstacles for the band to ignite the explosiveness that are the benchmark of their live shows. Acknowledging the pervasive Friday night exhaustion of the 9-to-5 crowd, the band was relaxed and playful and found a perfect dynamic interplay with the rolling, dancey rhythms of indie synth-rock track “Let Her Know”.

In a particularly meaningful moment, Fay recounted the story of the fateful encounter between her and Dreimanis at the obtrusive pillar in the room that brought the homecoming story full-circle, embodied by the tenderly incisive lyrics on a breezy take of the Western-tinged “I’ve Rationed Well”, subtly driven by muted searing feedback. The band concluded their brief set with the compulsory FM-favourite “Paper Girl”, before heading into the crowd to mingle with friends, cohorts, and well-wishers.


3 thoughts on “Concert Review + Photos: July Talk @ The Dakota Tavern

  1. Great photo set, must have been a lively night!

    Posted by hasn2 | October 26, 2013, 4:26 pm


  1. Pingback: Year in Review: The Best Concert Photos of 2013 | Aesthetic Magazine Toronto | Album Reviews, Concert Photography, Interviews, Contests - December 12, 2013

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